SUNDAY #90 – Only

I said I wouldn’t talk about Glandular Fever any more (#getoveritKate), but when I returned to the office in July after a month off sick, one of my senior managers asked how my recovery was going. Physically, I’d completely recovered, but when he asked “How about mentally?” I decided to tell the truth and say “Not all that great”.

Post-fever, I naively expected to pick up where I’d left off and go back to my old self. Instead, I spent weeks feeling like I was sat behind glass, separate from situations I would normally be engaged in. If I managed to experience a drop of emotion, it was overwhelming, and it often brought on a panic so severe that I’d feel paralysed by it. Weirdly, I hid these panics exceptionally well, so I imagine anyone who’s reading this who knows me in person will be surprised to hear I almost wept at my desk (and on the tube) on a daily basis.

I didn’t tell many people I felt this way. My sisters knew, I told a few close friends, and I wrote pages of notes in my diary about it when I couldn’t sleep at night (despite being fucking exhausted). I read the entries back recently, and it made me sad that I felt such a strong and strange need to keep my feelings a secret. That’s madder than anything I was feeling at the time.

What gave eventually gave me comfort and some perspective was that my senior had been through the exact same thing when he contracted Glandular Fever years ago. He told me that for months after his initial diagnosis and recovery, he would burst in to tears for no reason, and couldn’t regulate his emotions. Even on the worst days when I’d come back to the flat after work, wrecked internally by nerves and paranoia; the comfort in knowing I hadn’t “gone wrong” (as I put it to my flatmate Kelly) and that this state was only temporary, was immense. That’s why I’ve written about it here. It’s important to tell people if you’re struggling.

Do you know what else helps? Music. Endless amounts of it. Even when you don’t want to dance to it, cry to it, or feel to it – music is always there to distract and eventually, to motivate you back in to health. We all need something to lean on when we feel weak; and Nine Inch Nails’ desolate, raging, brutally honest lyrics have been medicine to my ears on the most toxic days. I’m also grateful to my older brother for not being mad at me for ignoring his suggestion to listen to them five years ago.

Whether you’re feeling low due to poor physical health, or just generally out of sorts; put on a record, whack your little diary out, and write until you don’t make sense anymore. Read it back when you’re feeling better, and cut yourself some slack. Life can punch you right in the tits sometimes, but if you tell someone how you feel (or write a blog about it), you’ll be surprised at just how much relief it can bring.

I can’t wait to show you what the spoils of shaking off Glandular Fever look like for me. Keep your eyes peeled for more news, and listen to this vital tune in the meantime.

Advertisements

SUNDAY #89 – Dead Souls

If you don’t agree that ‘Dead Souls’ is one of Joy Division’s finest musical offerings, then we’ll have to cease contact immediately. The ominous guitar riffs, brooding bass lines, and angry anthemic lyrics make my soul feel anything but dead when I hear the opening drum beat.

I don’t own a copy of Still, the compilation album the track is featured on, and it’s not the first place I heard it either. I was (and still am) obsessed with the film The Crow, and ‘Dead Souls’ is covered on the film’s official soundtrack by Nine Inch Nails (aka Trent Reznor). I thought Reznor had penned the track himself, and it wasn’t until I watched Control – Anton Corbijn’s 2007 biopic about Ian Curtis – that I realised my mistake.

Whilst Joy Division’s rendition of ‘Dead Souls’ is incredible, I still regularly listen to Nine Inch Nails’ version because it resurrects the feelings of sheer escapism I experienced the first time I watched The Crow. Whichever way you manipulate it, ‘Dead Souls’ sounds great; and there are two more cover versions of the track I can’t get out of my head either.

The first is a cover by one of my favourite new bands, Manchester post-punks PINS. They featured ‘Dead Souls’ on their recent EP Bad Thing because it sat comfortably with the record’s theme of bad dreams and nightmares, and I think the girls’ echoing vocals are as haunting and foreboding at Curtis’.

The final cover comes from soon to be industrial icon Hate Vessel (aka my older brother Joe). It’s probably not cool or good for his reputation for me to talk about him on this blog, but fuck it. He’s covered ‘Dead Souls’ and he’s done a blinding job. I only have this live video that’s on Facebook, but I think you’ll get the gist

 

SUNDAY #88 – Nearly Forgot

Nearly forgot to write a blog because I’ve been busy making the flat sparkle, sorting out my finances, and religiously applying Sudocrem to the sunburn I acquired whilst watching yesterday’s London Pride Parade (#livingmybestlife)

Tomorrow is my first day back at work in over a month, and I’m weirdly excited about scrolling through the 1000+ emails that await me. I’m sure the novelty will wear off by lunchtime, but I’m looking forward to showing off this ‘healthy’ glow and getting back in to the swing of things.

*Judd Nelson fist pump*

 

SUNDAY #87 – Bad Habit

I wonder how productive I’d be if I spent more time looking forward and less time looking back. Then I remember I secretly enjoy being a sentimental drip, so I’ll probably never break that habit.

I’ve spent my weekend listening to Foals’ back catalogue and laughing at the photographs in the boxes stashed under my bed. I know people store all their pictures online nowadays, but I still print everything out because I refuse to fully embrace technology, or let go of the past. I beamed at pictures of my friends & I circa 2009 with our bad haircuts, questionable fashion sense, and fresh/drunken smiles. I used to take my camera everywhere (much to their dismay), so there’s stacks of unflattering pictures just waiting to be uploaded to the internet.

Somewhere along the line though, I stopped bringing my camera with me and I stopped documenting nights out. We used to be outside The Pink Toothbrush’s doors at 21:45, half-pissed, every Friday & Saturday. I used to take embarrassing photos of us all, and I used to write about it all the time in my diary. Eventually; budgets, the amount of leisure time, and people’s tastes shifted. No photographs and no diary entries become the new habit, and now I have less pictures to laugh at and less words to cringe at.

BUT – the good thing about habits is you can always break them, so hopefully in a few years time when I unearth that box of visual treasure again, I’ll have new photos of all of us doing the exact same things, but with slightly less grace and more obvious bags under our eyes.

I must stop looking back so often though. I’m in danger of getting chronic neck ache.

 

SUNDAY #84 – Moving Out

LIFE UPDATE: I’M MOVING OUT!

This (overgrown) bird is finally flying the nest.

I originally attempted the flight in 2008 when I moved away (30 miles down the road) to University, but for various reasons, that went totally wrong and I ran home to my parents.

Eight years later, with an O.U degree and a full-time job under my belt, I’m cautiously stretching my wings again and preparing to move to London with my friend Kelly in two weeks time.

When people ask me where I’m from, I release a dramatic sigh and tell them “I’m from Essex” in a voice thick with disappointment and apology. I rarely tell them I quite like being from Essex, and that living in this county hasn’t held me back – I’ve just held myself back because I’ve been scared to leave it.

80% of my family live here. The Pink Toothbrush has been nurturing my music taste since I was 19. Most of my school friends still have roots here. Hanningfield Reservoir has been the backdrop to my childhood. Leaving Essex means leaving all of this behind.

There’s a Magnolia tree on the route in to the town that I’ve been walking past since I was old enough to put one foot in front of the other. My Mum used to let me collect the fallen petals from the ground after school, and I cherished the pink & white treasure. I stared at the tree last Friday night, and lost myself in this sentimental memory. Is there a Magnolia tree in London that’s going to provide the same comfort and reassurance as this one?

Short answer: Fuck knows.

I’m sure I can get sentimental about a new tree when I’m not busy dancing around the flat with Kelly on the weekends, and getting an extra 10 hours of sleep during the working week.

It’s not like I’ll never come back to Essex. There’s always a weekend rail replacement bus I can ride home, and The Pink Toothbrush is still the only place I’ll ever venture to on Halloween. But I don’t fit here anymore, and I want to see if I can fit somewhere up in the big smoke instead.

Fingers crossed I can ‘ack it.

SUNDAY #83 – Remember

I know it’s not Valentine’s Day, but I want to quickly revisit the date (because I’m a bored masochist) so I can share a small but sweet story about it.

We all know it’s a con, but it was hard for me to think of it like that when I was standing next to my friend Kelly at a gig she’d (although she insists ‘we’) organised. She booked Dirty White Fever, Saint Agnes, and Yassassin to play our ‘Anti-Valentine’s’ event, and to complete our night we had absolute mega-babes Dream Wife DJing for us.

Never in a million years did I think I’d be dancing around to Robots In Disguise with two thirds of Dream Wife, but that’s how I spent Valentine’s this year, and tbh it topped every date and bouquet of flowers I’ve ever had (2 proper dates, 2 bouquets. Not really that hard to beat, but STILL.)

That’s how I ended the night, but I’d started Valentine’s Day at home, in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, trying not to think about commuting in to work. My Dad came down the stairs, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked if he thought my Mum would like this:

16996894_10154279177697374_1640995302_n

The night before, we’d all been taking the piss out of him because he’d forgotten to buy my Mum a Valentine’s card for the first time in 30 years of marriage. We joked that he should return home later on V-Day with a last minute card and consolatory offering of Ferrero Rocher.

Instead, at 10pm on February 13th, he went down to his shed and spent two hours sawing this heart-shape out of a sheet of aluminium. In his haste, he forgot to engrave “Happy Valentine’s” and instead wrote “Happy Anniversary”. My parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last year in September (with a lot of selfies in Rome), so technically this gift was late too.Whilst he was frantically sawing away at this heart, my Mum kept hassling him about being in the shed so late, which is why he panic-scribed the wrong word on to it. When he gave her the heart the next morning she realised even after 30 years of marriage, passive aggressive guilt trips still work.

What cracked me up is that my Dad had placed the heart in a make-shift paper card that read “Forget me not” on the front.

I’m not in love, and since a big ol’ break up two years ago (which I never even talk about, WHY ARE YOU BRINGING IT UP?!) I’ve been running at full speed from anything that remotely resembles “feelings”. I’ve also seen other people’s romances crumble before my eyes, which adds to my sad and cynical view that true love is a bloody luxury, not a necessity like everyone believes. But, holding that bit of aluminium in my hands on Valentine’s Day reminded me that love isn’t dead; it’s just a bit tired and forgetful sometimes.

Also, if my Mum had dark curly hair and my Dad had a bow and arrow and some hair, they’d basically be Robin Hood & Maid Marion in Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves. #RelationshipGoals

 

SUNDAY #82 – Black Eyed

I’m re-bobbed, permanently jobbed, and my body is mobbed with bruises.

I know you shouldn’t gloat about a black eye, but I’ve never felt so punk in my life (an admission that immediately removes any punk credentials I formerly possessed). I was lovingly elbowed in the eye socket at Ho99o9‘s gig at The Old Blue Last a week ago. Despite being pinned to the front of the stage and being told by security “NOT TO TOUCH THE MONITORS!”  I felt no pain for 45 minutes, and I would happily live that night on repeat for the rest of my black-eyed days.

It was the most insane gig I’ve ever been to. It was also insane of me to mix white wine with tequila, but that probably helped me on my journey to black eye city. I’ve been furiously applying foundation to cover it up at work. By day I’m a genuine adult with a job and responsibilities, and by night I’m a juvenile wine connoisseur who finds the meaning of life in a mosh pit.

During the week I also received some shining news to go with my shiner: I’m being made a permanent member of staff at my current job. This means a) I’m actually quite good at my job, and b) the next time I get a black eye at a gig, hopefully I’ll be living in London, so I’ll have less of distance to commute home with my war wound.

There were a few low points this week amidst all the glory. I’d pre-bought dinner on Friday night because I had plans to go out and drink gin and love life after work. Unfortunately, those plans got cancelled last minute, and I got in a bit of a strop and went to bin the pre-purchased food. I decided I was going to storm home, tear my bedroom walls down to some Blood Red Shoes, and if I felt lie it; cry to my Mum – because that’s what adults with full-time jobs and black eyes do.

I approached the bin ready to chuck my dinner in to it, then I realised I was being a selfish, stupid arse. I returned to my desk, put the food in my bag, and on my walk home through central London I passed it on to a homeless man. Even when you think you’re having a mildly shit day, it’s best to remember that someone else is probably not going home to a bed, a nice family, and a hot dinner. That’s the kind of punch in the face we all want to avoid really.